Learning any new language can be a mental struggle and remembering the structure of the of a language requires persistence and dedication.
This is why we’ve put together 5 hot tips to help you to get through this challenge and help you to become fluent in English (but also any other foreign language), as quickly as possible.
1. Set yourself weekly targets.
If you attempt to approach too much learning all at once, you will fail to take in all the information and as a result over the long term, a large proportion of your learning will not enter your long term memory. By setting yourself weekly learning goals on specific exercises or areas of the language, you will realise how easy it is to learn in smaller steps which will help in keeping you motivated and ready to learn more.
2. Home alone? – Still, speak it out loud.
A large number of ESL students revise and take in language in their heads while studying alone. While this might seem like the natural way to learn when nobody is there to listen to you, by not practicing out loud, you will be hindering your ability to pick up pronunciation. Actively using your facial muscles when learning will also make speaking the new language become more familiar, which in turn will help you to become more confident when speaking aloud.
3. Before going to bed – recap.
Rather than having a nightcap of whiskey before bed – an old English tradition, ESL learners should review all the important information that they have taken in during the day. In order to transfer information from your short term memory into your long term memory it is important to refresh yourself, as often as possible until it is ingrained. Reviewing information before bed will ensure that the subject is in your thoughts, as you go to sleep and you brain will still be working away with the information during the night.
4. Make sure you listen, as well as speak.
At least four or five times a week, it is important that you refrain from leading conversation and take in a conversation as an outsider. By listening to a conversation for five to ten minutes, you will establish a better understanding of regional dialects and accents. It will also help you identify common slang and terms or expressions, not often heard during a classroom, that you can note down and research at a later date.
5. Practice, practice, practice….
Each and every day, it is vital that you keep and look out for new opportunities to read, listen and speak the language. Putting your English knowledge to practice will not only boost your confidence, it will also help you to identify any areas in which you need to put further emphasis on during your lessons and studies. If you live in a country in which English is not a commonly spoken language, you should engineer your own real life situations by reading the news in English, watching videos in English and thinking out loud in English.
Tom F. is currently working for LAL Schools, providing advice for ESL learners and helping other language students to pick up techniques to improve their learning.